Sunday, October 01, 2006

Triple sons

"... and the ambulance died in his arms" by Coil is a heartwrenching chronicle of a death foretold, recorded on april 4th 2003 at an edition of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival curated by Autechre. It rates amongst the best live work of Coil, connecting the 'Songs To Play In The Dark' to the 'Black Antlers' sounds.

The final song, the title song of the cd, is the most unheimisch of the whole set. In this heartfelt, sombre version of Musick To Play In The Dark's last song "The Dreamer Is Still Asleep", which was also the first song to be part of Jhonn Balances burial rites, Balance seems foresee the circumstances of his own death - enough to make one fleetingly believe superstitious, irrational things. The Treshold House website states correctly that "...much of the work of Coil, Jhonn's Life's Work in fact, described or addressed that Very Moment" (meaning the moment of his death).

'Triple Sons and the One You Bury' is the song from this cd that speaks most strongly to me personally. It's lyrics are replete with images of mortality. For me, the song is about the death of Christ at Golgotha, as Jesus, Son of God, was hung on the cross between two sons of man, two robbers. Tellingly, yew berries feature in the lyrics and in a short monologue at the end of the song. Through assonance, Jhonn Balance associates these berries with burial: "I swallow the one yew berry" becomes "I swallow the one you bury". The poisonous yew is known as the Tree of the Cross. The yew-trees of Nevern in Dyfed, Wales, are said to bleed a red substance every year in sympathy with the Christ.

'And the One You Bury' thus is Christ himself, whose burial is literature's most famous, and whose death was foretold (both by himself and by Isaiah, amongst others) like that of Jhonn Balance.

In the lyrics, 'the One You Bury' equals 'a cup of mercury', as both are swallowed. The element of mercury sometimes is associated with Christ in alchemical occultism. The line "I swallow the one you bury" thus can be construed to refer to the eucharist: drinking inebriating wine transsubstanciated into the blood of Christ in that truly poetic rite of Christianity, a rite that resonates with ancient, pre-christian meanings.

Undoubtedly one could write an interesting Phd-thesis on occult imagery in Balance's lyrics.

Isn't he our modern-day Frazerian Baldur or Adonis?

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